Musicality Lab, 1st & 3rd Sunday afternoons in Ballard

Musicality makes dancing delicious. Nothing else does. Read more.

Waltz etcetera does not offer pre-dance classes on Mondays. Pre-dance classes are usually designed for beginners interested in learning some basic dance survival skills; Waltz etcetera classes have been intermediate level and above from the very first class we taught: Intermediate Turning Waltz, in September 1999.

Instead, we offer Musicality Lab on first & third Sunday afternoons at a different venue, and it's not aimed at beginners. That said, some beginners find their way there and they end up doing very well indeed, learning a lot very quickly. They were motivated enough to get there; they're serious about learning some dance. So all are welcome at Musicality Lab.

We encourage our students to dance both roles, learning at least a little of the role they don't usually dance. This is a key element in our underlying philosophy of dance, as outlined in Creative collaboration. Most students at Musicality Lab are happy in either role, so lead/follow balance is never an issue.

What's a lab?

In Musicality Lab we alternate teaching sessions with open dancing sessions so you get to try out the stuff you just learned in a few real, uninterrupted dances before we come back to teaching. We have three teaching sessions with open dancing between, and after the 3rd teaching session we put on music for those who'd like to practice with each other for a while.

Our approach: combining the wisdom of tango and blues/swing

We draw on the extraordinary depth of these two profound traditions, extracting and combining the wisdom they contain about how two bodies can move together musically. Either of these dance traditions contains a lifetime's worth of wisdom about dancing musically. Combine the two? The possibilities are breathtaking.

Our basics: 8-count swing and the open box. We teach only 8-count blues & swing/foxtrot because swing/blues/foxtrot music is all 8-count: the universal phrase is two 4-beat measures. Our basic step for tango is the open box, a simplified version of the tango box which was widely taught through most of the 20th Century, and which has become popular again with some notable teachers from Argentina.

Our basics are easy to learn; our focus is on musicality and connection rather than fancy moves and intricate steps. You can learn the gist of either of our basics in a few minutes, and spend the rest of your life exploring it. Either makes a lovely dance all by itself, just dancing the basic.


Musicality Lab is 1:30-3:30 pm on first & third Sundays, $20 per person suggested donation. No need to sign up, just show up. It's in the sweet and quirky upstairs ballroom at Salmon Bay Eagles, 5216 20th Ave NW (map) in old town Ballard; the sign outside says FOE (Fraternal Order of Eagles). Look for our sign on the sidewalk, and go in the door to the right, with stairs going up. The ballroom floor is gorgeous old maple, very easy on feet, knees etc. It's definitely one of the best dance floors in Seattle.

Parking can be challenging on Sunday because of the nearby farmers' market, so arrive early and plan on walking a few blocks as a pre-warmup. If you're willing to walk you'll find free parking within 4 or 5 blocks in residential areas. You can find pay parking in the lot next door or in the Swedish Hospital garage just across the street in back of the Eagles. Or you might get lucky and find a free spot right out front ;-).

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